A judge will allow a diminished Georgia election fraud lawsuit, which seeks to inspect nearly 150,000 absentee ballots in Fulton County, to move forward.
Although Henry County Superior Court Chief Judge Brian Amero dismissed the bulk of the claims in the lawsuit — the judge ruled the county, county elections board, and county courts clerk could not be defendants in the suit — he kept it alive on Thursday by granting the plaintiffs' request to add individual members of the county board of elections as respondents. The judge also left in place an order for the ballot review.
The three original defendants argued they could not be sued under sovereign immunity laws, which dictate state and local governments cannot be sued without their consent.
The plaintiffs in the case, nine Georgia voters, scored a victory last month when Amero ordered scanned images of 147,000 absentee ballots to be unsealed. But he placed the inspection, which would allow for high-resolution re-scans of ballots and an in-person review, on hold while considering the defendants' motions to dismiss.
Garland Favorito, the lead plaintiff in the case, said he viewed the judge's decision as a victory and plans to submit an inspection plan next week.
"We just want Fulton to be held responsible," Favorito said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We could be moving forward any time now unless they try to stall again. Fulton may make a new desperation move to postpone it."
Don Samuel, an attorney for the Fulton elections board, said he planned to file motions to dismiss the claims against the board members because there are no allegations they had a role in counting the county's ballots.
A report written by an independent election observer monitoring the November election in Fulton, which includes much of Atlanta, found the county's election was sloppily handled but did not uncover any fraud.
"They got it over the goal line. They made their numbers add up," the observer, Carter Jones, told the Associated Press. "Yes, the vehicle was held together by duct tape and chewing gum, but it got over the goal line."
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Original Author: Haley Victory Smith
Original Location: Judge allows stripped-down Fulton County ballot review case to move forward